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Topic: prewashing quilt top?  (Read 1016 times)
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« on: March 05, 2010 04:42:54 AM »

I hope this is not a repeat question - I did a search and then looked through a page or two and couldn't find anything that looked like this.

I am planning on making a quilt with a jelly roll, and I know I am not supposed to prewash the pre-cut strips.  But - do I then prewash the quilt top and the backing before making the sandwich and quilting it?  Or do I just leave EVERYTHING unwashed until it's all together?  I am just concerned that the backing fabric might shrink more than the top, that the batting will shrink at a different rate, etc and make the finished product look bad after its first wash.

So - what is the verdict on this??

Thanks! Smiley

« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010 05:33:01 PM »

Everybody's got an opinion on this, and I think it's been hashed out a fair bit. I fall on the non-prewashing side, personally, as I like the soft rumply look that it gets when everything *does* shrink at a different rate.
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010 06:42:33 PM »

Hi There:

You ABSOLUTELY DO NOT pre-wash a top.  There is an ongoing debate about whether or not to pre-wash fabric, but never a top or blocks.  There is only a 1/4 inch seam that will completely fall apart if washed.  I know several people who have made this mistake, and completely ruined there tops.  They were unsalvagable.  Hope that helps. 

« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010 05:27:14 PM »

All of the stuff I have read in here so far on prewashing has to do with before you sew it together, not after you've made the quilt top, so thanks for the thoughts on this in particualr! 

Hmmm - hadn't thought about fraying out those 1/4" seams . . .

So - if I don't prewash the jelly roll, and I don't prewash the quilt top, do I then use unwashed yardage for the backing, too?  It will be of unrelated fabric to the jellyroll, so will likely shrink at a different rate yet again. 

Thoughts?  All un-pre-washed?  Or prewash the backing and hope for the best?


« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010 05:34:08 PM »

There are 2 ways to handle the fabric not having been pre-washed.  

1.  Just wing it.  I have done this on all my quilts, and it gives a nice wrinkled old-time look that I love.  It is weird because I am usually anal retentive about my quiltmaking, but this one of the few areas where I through caution to the wind.  


2.  Wash it on gentle or by hand, and then line dry.  Shrinkage should be minimal.  You can do it in a bathtub with special ph balanced soap (at quilt stores) that is really gentle on the fabrics.  

Good luck. I will never tell anyone what to do-in case it backfires, ha ha.  If it were me, I would leave it all unwashed.  However, I would check small amounts of each fabric for color fastness to make sure none of them will bleed when washed.  I usually snip a small piece of each fabric and wet it together with a piece of muslin.  I rub them together, let them dry on each other, and then see if there was any transfer. 

« Last Edit: March 06, 2010 05:38:04 PM by JTravis10 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010 05:49:56 PM »

Good luck. I will never tell anyone what to do-in case it backfires, ha ha. 

 Cheesy I understand the sentiment! 

I think I will likely just leave it all unwashed and hope for the best.  My jelly roll is mostly lighter-colored, and I'll just get a light-colored backing for it, and then wash it with those color-catching sheets - seem to work pretty well.  Fortunately for me, the quilt I am planning ot make is not horribly big or complicated, so if things go bad in the end, it will not be a waste of too much time and effort!  (Though I really do hate for any of my hard work to be for nothing!)

Thanks for your thoughts! Smiley

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